FMCs & Customer Service – What Matters to Fleet Clients?
Employees are the faces of the organization, representing the company’s brand, addressing challenges, providing advice, benchmarking progress, and building relationships. Customer service and its prioritization are essential in delivering a great experience for fleet clients and fleet management company (FMC) employees alike.
Celebrated annually during the first full week of October, Customer Service Week is an international recognition of the importance of customer service and the people who serve and support customers daily.
In the current dynamic business environment, and with 74% of Americans voicing their discontent with customer service in 2023, we’re profiling a team of employees at Enterprise Fleet Management’s Kentucky location that is excelling at customer service (despite industry and ongoing supply chain challenges) and being recognized for their efforts through incredible growth results.
Enterprise Fleet Management’s Kentucky team has one of the highest levels of women in tenured roles across the entire fleet industry (contrary to the 16.8% average) and has grown its book of business by more than 650% in just over a decade. With Enterprise founder Jack Taylor’s founding philosophy to “take care of customers and employees first, and everything else will follow” in mind, this team is getting back to the heart of “authentic” customer service.
Exceptional Service and Creativity Pay Dividends
The Kentucky team deploys customer service tactics with strong communication and celebrates the successes of fellow employees to generate positive results.
“Our results demonstrate our ability to achieve great outcomes and we respectfully look to our team members both new and tenured to uphold our reputation of delivering an incredible experience to our fleet clients,” said Finance Director Adam Cline.
Jessica Appleby, senior client strategy manager, knows that relationship building is not just a nice-to-have, but a fundamental component of providing excellent customer service. Jessica has personally experienced 200% delivery growth within her book of business over the past five years – which is a terrific result of repeat business from existing accounts and new referrals from clients with whom she has built great relationships. Jessica continues to organically grow professional working relationships into friendships, evidenced by having invited some clients to attend her wedding.
“We are encouraged to and have the autonomy to authentically engage with clients which naturally lends to a better understanding of their business goals and objectives, while developing camaraderie as we grow our businesses together,” said Appleby.
The team not only shows great dedication and commitment to growing the business, but they’re creative too. For example, Catherine Blazer, senior account executive, has been known to send sales prospects a cake from a local bakery with her contact details adorned in icing and a note, requesting a meeting. A high-heel door stopper along with a business card and message that states, “Now that I have my foot in the door – please call me to discuss your fleet account,” has also been shared. In an age of digital tools, the lighthearted approach and personal messages have resonated well with many.
“Originality is memorable, and our team is great at developing creative and authentic ways to prospect new business and stay connected with existing contacts. We know that the drivers of client satisfaction are proactive communication, responsiveness, and ensuring ease of process and we try to authentically weave this into our sales approaches and client interactions as much as we can,” said Fleet Management Director Billy Snider.
Proactive Communication and Timeliness Matters
In this dynamic business, economic environment changes happen quickly, whether it’s vehicle delivery delays, parts shortages, or supply chain constraints, proactively communicating updates is key … and not always fun.
To instill a sense of trust with clients, it is important to communicate well and frequently. “We strive to acknowledge receipt of client inquiries within three hours and provide an alternative contact for clients if we will be away from the office for an extended amount of time,” said Channing Flaherty, area sales manager. “We trust that our colleagues can provide excellent service to clients on our behalf which says a lot about the immense respect that we have for each other.”
Whether it’s sharing industry insights, updates on vehicle orders, or possible delivery delays, proactive communication shows a commitment to customer satisfaction. When frequently sharing updates with clients about potential issues, it displays a sense of honesty and transparency that is much appreciated.
Motivating the Team
Strong employee engagement is also at the core of the Kentucky team’s commitment to providing an unparalleled client experience. And internal communication is a must. Team members of various levels and positions meet weekly to discuss client service alerts, new account wins, and client feedback – both positive and negative. Despite varying levels of seniority, the team views and respects each other as true “business partners” with a strong team culture of “fully buying into each other’s successes,” and having power within proximity (i.e., quickly vetting ideas through in-person collaboration and virtual tools).
Given that some team members work remotely, virtual meetings are embraced, as are team-building events and online chat tools to ensure all employees are equally invested in the team and its connected culture.
“We make each other laugh – it sounds simple, but comedic relief goes a long way and reminds us, that we’re in this together, which is especially important when you’re having a challenging day,” says Flaherty.
For FMCs, a single point of contact who knows their customer’s business, fleet, and industry helps to maximize efficiency and cost savings – keeping customers happy. When customer service is prioritized everyone wins and achieves more together. Clients are satisfied with the assistance, advice, and service they are receiving, and employees and businesses can benefit from more loyal clients, increased growth, and positive professional relationships.